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  You are here:  PublicationsBulletin Board ArchiveMOFGA Bulletin Board - 2017April 13 2017   



Bulletin Board

APRIL 13, 2017

Organic Gardening Tip:
Handle Seedlings by Their Cotyledons

When transplanting seedlings, handle them by their cotyledons - the "seed leaves," or the first leaves to emerge from the seed. These are the most expendable parts of the seedling, which will grow new leaves. Handling by the stem could crush that delicate tissue and kill the seedling.

For an innovative way to use the heat from a compost pile to help grow heat-loving seedlings, see Adam Tomash and June Zellers' article "Low Cost Ways to Grow Heat-Loving Plants in Maine" in The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.
Solar- - - -

Jason Tessier providing a tour of our new solar array.

MOFGA Flips the Switch to Solar Power

We took a giant step toward energy self-sufficiency this spring when we flipped our energy switch to solar power at the Common Ground Education Center in Unity. With inspiration, guidance and generous financial support from Liberty-based ReVision Energy, we dramatically expanded our renewable energy infrastructure by installing a 102.08 kilowatt solar array and air source heat pumps. After almost twenty years at our home in western Waldo County, we are fulfilling our dream of becoming self-sufficient with energy. Read more! 
Tractor- - - -

Donated Oggún Tractor Welcome Addition at MOFGA

Thanks to some longtime MOFGA members and supporters, MOFGA welcomed a new tool this spring - an Oggún Tractor manufactured by CleBer, LLC in Paint Rock, Alabama - for work and demonstration at our Common Ground Education Center in Unity. Designed for single-row production (and many other tasks, as Don Pendleton, MOFGA's buildings and grounds assistant, was discovering), the tractor design uses Open System Manufacturing - using common "off the shelf" components while avoiding the restrictions of patents. "This model allows us," says Oggún, "to manufacture a wide range of agricultural and light construction equipment that is cost-effective, simple, rugged, and maintainable in the field or local shop." FMI: http://thinkoggun.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/Ogg%C3%BAn-Tractor-883052001780610/.
HR1060- - - -

MOFGA Supports Young Farmer Success Act

MOFGA, along with over 100 other organizations, signed on to a letter in support of H.R. 1060, the Young Farmer Success Act, a bill that would help our nation's young farmers manage their student loan debt. H. R. 1060 would "amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to include certain individuals who work on farms or ranches as individuals who are employed in public service jobs for purposes of eligibility for loan forgiveness under the Federal Direct Loan program." Please tell your member of Congress to co-sponsor HR 1060. Visit http://www.youngfarmers.org/young-farmer-success-act-reintroduced-in-congress/
Scholarships- - - -

Russell Libby Agricultural Scholar Awards Announced  

Congratulations to the winners of the third annual Russell Libby Agricultural Scholar Awards: high school student Elizabeth Napolitano, Kennebec Valley Community College student Slade Emery, and Meg Mitchell of MOFGA-certified organic South Paw Farm. The Maine Sunday Telegram and MOFGA offer the three $1,500 scholarships with support from Lee Auto Malls.
Certified- - - -

Newly Certified by MOFGA Certification Services LLC   

Here are some operations that have become MOFGA-certified organic since January 1, 2017. For a complete list of producers who are certified by MOFGA Certification Services LLC, please see http://www.mofgacertification.org/?page_id=1492.

Flo's Farm, Union, Maine - dairy - cow milk and grass hay, baleage and pasture (wholesale)
R.P.D.M. Sugar Camp, Inc., Camp 192, Somerset County, Maine - maple syrup (wholesale)
Alder Brook Sugar House, Alderbrook Twp., Maine - maple syrup (wholesale)
Tree of Life Maple Farm LLC, Bald Mountain Twp., Maine - maple syrup (wholesale)
Gray Jay Mapleworks, Sandy Bay Twp., Maine - maple syrup (wholesale)
Erabliere JV Inc., T8R19 Wels, Maine - maple syrup (wholesale)
Check-off- - - -

MOFGA Board Rejects Organic Check-off    

MOFGA's Board of Directors last Sunday voted unanimously to oppose the organic check-off program proposed by the Organic Trade Association (OTA). The USDA is drafting rules for the check-off, which would, in effect, impose a voluntary tax on growers, processors, and retailers of organic products.

The vote to oppose the check-off came as the Board considered endorsing a letter from the No Organic Check-off Coalition, which calls on the USDA to scrap the current OTA check-off proposal and redraft it in a way to ensure that small family farms with organic certification would benefit.

MOFGA Board member Spencer Aitel, a certified organic dairy farmer from South China, called the check-off scheme a form of "reverse Robin Hood" aimed at taking cash resources from small family farmers and diverting them to benefit large corporate entities. Aroostook County organic potato farmer Jim Gerritson also criticized the check-off and suggested farmers and consumers need to let the USDA know that the check-off is bad for all. He praised the Board for its vote. "MOFGA has shown great leadership in supporting family farmers by opposing the OTA organic check-off. Commodity production programs (like the check-off) benefit the biggest farmers and unfairly hurt the family farm operations we have here in Maine."

Farmers and consumers have until April 19 to tell the USDA how they feel about the check-off proposal. MOFGA will be submitting formal comments to the USDA challenging the check-off plan. Consumers and individual farmers can send their own thoughts to the USDA through the No Organic Check-off Coalition (http://noorganiccheckoff.com/) website.
Pruning- - - -

Michael Phillips
Organic Orcharding 101
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sat., April 15 - MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center, Unity
Fee: $50; $40 for MOFGA members
Please bring your own bag lunch
Join Michael Phillips, author of "The Apple Grower" and "The Holistic Orchard," for a comprehensive exploration of orchard health strategies that make disease and insect challenges doable for the organic grower. Learn what to expect in your orchard and how to manage it.
Store- - - -

MOFGA's Online Country Store Spring Sale Continues!      

2016 Common Ground Country Fair items are 16 percent off (totes, T-shirts and sweatshirts, posters and onesies) until April 16! This is a perfect time to get a reusable tote for the farmers' markets or a new shirt to garden in. Let Toki Oshima's beautiful rendition of Rainbow Swiss chard remind you that spring weather is coming! 
Earth-Day- - - -

Celebrate Earth Day with MOFGA   

Help us clean up the grounds for spring! We'll celebrate Earth Day on Saturday, April 22, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with some volunteer projects at MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center in Unity. Everyone who lends a hand will get lunch and a T-shirt. All ages and experience levels are welcome. FMI and to RSVP: alibby@mofga.org

Plant Trees at the Maine Heritage Orchard

The Maine Heritage Orchard is a ten-acre preservation orchard on the MOFGA grounds in Unity. It is currently home to 280 apple and pear varieties traditionally grown in Maine. On Earth Day, April 22, we will plant 30 more varieties. The orchard is planted on a terraced, reclaimed gravel pit and is managed using innovative, organic orchard practices. For information about planting trees with us, RSVP to alibby@mofga.org. For more information on the Maine Heritage Orchard, visit our web page on MOFGA.org or email us at apples@mofga.org  
Bowl- - - -

MOFGA - El Salvador Sistering Committee Empty Bowl Supper 

El Salvador recently became the first country in the world to ban metallic mining! Join the MOFGA-El Salvador Sistering Committee at its April 22 Empty Bowl Supper to celebrate the success of this long struggle, directly related to preserving healthy farm and garden soils everywhere. Select from handsome bowls donated by Maine potters, enjoy great soups, savor breads donated by Back 40 Bakehouse, top off with homemade desserts, listen to live music by Shawn and Maizey Mercer and support the MOFGA-El Salvador Sistering Committee's work - all for just $15 ($35 maximum for families)! Saturday, April 22, at 6 p.m. at the United Farmers Market of Belfast at 18 Spring Street.
Tour- - - -

New Farm Tour Series: Farmer to Farmer in the Field    

MOFGA presents a new series of monthly farm tour events throughout the growing season for established farmers. These workshops will take place on organic farms on a specific topic led by a farmer who is a specialist on said topic. More information.

Overwintering and Early Planting
Tuesday, April 25
Six River Farm, Bowdoinham, 52 Centers Point Rd.
5:30 p.m. - farm tour; 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. - topic discussion
Nate Drummond will talk about vegetable production for the "spring shoulder season." He will focus on strategies for successful overwintering and early planting of a range of crops including greens, alliums, strawberries and cole crops, with the goal of extending harvest windows into April and May. 
Meat- - - -

New England Meat Conference   

MOFGA is helping to set up the New England Meat Conference, which will take place on April 28-29 at The Radisson Manchester Downtown, Manchester, N.H. Explore how to continue growing the New England meat economies, continue developing robust infrastructure and foster business relationships. With over 25 educational sessions, hands-on workshops, and the illustrious Meat Ball, the event offers many opportunities to learn from and network among local and national leaders. FMI and tickets: https://www.newenglandmeatconference.com/ 
Poultry- - - -

2017 Maine Poultry Seminar    

Learn about pastured poultry at the 2017 Maine Poultry Seminar, on Saturday, April 29, from 9 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., at Kennebec Valley Community College, 95 Western Ave., Carter Auditorium, Fairfield, Maine. This free program will address the advantages and drawbacks of pastured poultry in Maine for meat and eggs; poultry production cycles, including a discussion of a UMaine project on pastured broiler production; and issues related to poultry health, predators and nutrition. In addition, two producers will share their experiences with growing broilers and turkeys in Maine. Bring a brown bag lunch and enjoy a working lunch discussion about producer issues and topics for future newsletters/programs. Register by April 26 with Melissa Libby, melissa.libby1@maine.edu or 207-581-2788 (800-287-7170 in Maine only). Provide your name and contact information in case the program changes.  
Belfast- - - -

Belfast Garden Club Scholarships  

The Belfast Garden Club is offering two annual scholarships of $1,000 to Waldo County high school seniors who plan to major in an earth-friendly field, such as sustainable agriculture. Ask your guidance counselor for an application or visit BelfastGardenClub.org. The application deadline is April 30.
Compost- - - -

Maine Composts Week

May 7-13 is Maine Composts Week. If you're cleaning out your winter greenhouse or root cellar and have leftover crops, consider donating them to Maine Composts Week's Community Supper events. FMI: mainecompostsweek@gmail.com or https://umaine.edu/mitchellcenter/maine-composts-week/. The website has other ideas for composting and reducing food waste. 
FTP- - - -

MOFGA's Farm Training Project Workshops Begin in May

Designed to augment the on-farm learning of the farm apprenticeship program, MOFGA's Farm Training Project (FTP) workshops follow an informal format, usually beginning with a farm tour followed by a presentation on the topic of the day. Participants are invited to stay for a potluck supper - bring a dish or something fresh from the farm to share (please bring your own place setting as well). All events are held rain or shine and are free and open to the public. For more information or directions to any of the workshops, call 207-568-6018, email education@mofga.org, or check the FTP website.

Organic Farming Principles and Practices
Wednesday, May 17, and Thursday, May 18, at MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center, Unity. Free for MOFGA apprentices! Join Eric Sideman, Dave Colson, Diane Schivera and Rick Kersbergen for a two-day introductory course to organic farming. Register (required) for either or both days; lunch will be provided.

2017! Communication Kickoff! Potluck! Social!
Wednesday, May 31, 5 p.m., Villageside Farm, Freedom

Introduction to Farm Equipment: Safety, Operation and Basic Maintenance
Wednesday, May 24, 5 p.m., Crystal Spring Farm, Brunswick

Cover Crops
Thursday, June 15, 6 p.m., Dooryard Farm, Camden

Organic Livestock Management
Wednesday, June 21, 5 p.m., Milkhouse Farm, Monmouth

Weed Management
Thursday, July 27, 5 p.m., Goranson Farm, Dresden

Farming with Horses
Wednesday, August 16, 5 p.m., New Beat Farm, Knox

Farm Woodlot Management
Wednesday, August 30, 5 p.m., Hidden Valley Nature Center, Jefferson

Other workshops will be scheduled soon.
EventsEvents in Maine and Beyond - Mark Your Calendar!

April 15 - MOFGA Organic Orcharding Workshop: Organic Orcharding 101 with Michael Phillips. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center, Unity. Please bring a bag lunch. Join Michael Phillips, author of The Apple Grower, for a comprehensive exploration of organic disease and insect strategies. Register here.

April 19 - Maine Fair Trade Campaign Annual Meeting: "Fair Trade in the Post-TPP Era." Plumbers & Pipefitters Union Hall, 21 Gabriel Dr., Augusta. 5:30 social hour; 6 p.m. dinner and meeting. Register at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSemYLKlf4ipHOTISFayAN98FQErsDeZGBNbeuA7dLInNgq4UQ/viewform

April 22 - Celebrate Earth Day with MOFGA. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center in Unity. RSVP: alibby@mofga.org

April 22 - Maine Heritage Orchard Spring Tree Planting at MOFGA. 9 a.m. to noon. RSVP: alibby@mofga.org

April 22 - MOFGA-El Salvador Sistering Committee Empty Bowl Supper. 6 p.m., United Farmers Market of Belfast, 18 Spring Street, Belfast. More information

April 24-28 - Maine Meat Cutting School, Central Maine Meats, 563 Brunswick Ave., Gardiner, Maine. Limited to 12 participants. Cost: $400 per student. Some grant and scholarship opportunities available. FMI and to register (by April 20): https://extension.umaine.edu/food-health/food-safety/meat-cutting-school/

April 25 - Overwintering and Early Planting. Tuesday, 5:30 p.m., Six River Farm, Bowdoinham. MOFGA monthly farm tour series for established farmers. Information.

April 28-29 - New England Meat Conference, Manchester, N.H. https://www.newenglandmeatconference.com/

May 5 - MOFGA's Common Ground Radio Show, an hour on local food and agriculture. 10 a.m. on 89.9 and 99.9 FM and weru.org

May 6 & 7 - Chainsaw Safety Training. Introductory Course on Saturday, May 6; Intermediate Course on Sunday, May 7. Information.

May 11 - Kitchen Licensing Workshop. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Common Ground Education Center, Unity. Designed for farmers and others interested in home-food processing for resale. Information. Register here.

May 13 - MOFGA Organic Orcharding Workshop: Top Grafting Fruit Trees. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Mueller's Fruit Farm, Thorndike. Please bring a bag lunch. Learn to topwork new, disease-resistant, cider, dessert or heritage varieties onto your existing trees with John Bunker. Registration fee: $50; $40 for MOFGA members. Register here.

May 17-18 - Organic Farming: Principles and Practices. Wednesday & Thursday, MOFGA's Common Ground Education Center, Unity. Two-day immersion course open to any participants interested in learning the fundamental principles and practices of organic farming. $100 per day or $150 for both days; Discounts for MOFGA members. Information and course outline or register here.

May 25 - MOFGA Poultry Processing Workshop. Thursday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., MOFGA's Common Kitchen at the Common Ground Education Center, Unity. $75. $60 for MOFGA members. Information and registration.


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